For the 2nd year, we are very pleased to programme the Film Night at Bendigo’s Scots Day Out Festival- the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest Scottish-diaspora Festival, which takes place in Bendigo, Australia every February!
Organised by Chris Earl and the dedicated team at SDO, along with possibly the world’s cutest Festival mascot, Bendigo Mac! Bendigo Mac is SDO’s yellow tartan Koala Bear, resplendent in the official Bendigo Tartan!
We were delighted to meet Chris & Bendigo Mac in the Filmhouse last year, when Chris came to visit but sadly, the return trip was not to be – and so we’re spending February in a drafty flat in darkest Edinburgh instead!
But at least our intrepid short films have been lucky enough to make the journey down under, and have now arrived safe & sound & ready for their digital holiday in Bendigo-which lies in Victoria state with Melbourne a short trip away!
The lucky shorts will soon be exposed to the SDO audience at La Trobe University, Bendigo on the night of Friday February 11th, 7:30pm.
The programme we’ve curated for SDO reflects our Scottish/Australian partnership by combining some of our best Scottish films alongside some outstanding Australian shorts.
Eve McConnachie’s film collaboration with Scottish Ballet, the achingly beautiful MAZE filmed in the evocative surroundings of Govanhill baths in Glasgow, opens the show & we’re also pleased to send David Lumsden’s award-winning Sci-Fi short BOAT, a dark, dystopian vision of a post-apocalyptic Edinburgh. The visual effects perfectly realise a land of melted ice caps & a desperate struggle to survive.
By contrast, Martin Lennon’s playful & witty doc THE FRYING GAME, charts the birth of the iconic Deep Fried Mars Bar in the Carron Fish Bar in Stonehaven & the eccentric characters that hang out there, while Vito Milazzo’s surreal & imaginative drama WRITER’S BLOCK explores the increasingly desperate imaginings of a frustrated writer & his fraught relationships with his flatmates. Witty, dramatic& often visceral, the film acts as a tautly-directed motif for contemporary writers everywhere.
V DAY by Chih-Peng Lucas Kao, is a romantic comedy set in one of Edinburgh’s sink estates and follows a shy Taiwanese student’s attempts to deliver flowers to a girl on Valentine’s Day and the people he meets in his quest. Charming & heart-warming, the film perfectly encapsulates the city’s characters over one night in February.
Gregor Fergie’s darkly ironic THE BADGER sets off an earnest actor played with excellent comedy timing by Will Samson, against Gary Lind’s darkly menacing crime boss. THE BADGER is an entertaining black comedy about image consciousness and the shallowness of celebrity.
Stephen C Horne’s THE LICK is a genuinely funny comedy that plays with masculine identities, its imaginative and funny and also very Scottish. One day inside a mysterious graveyard, footballer wannabe Kris discovers the seduction of dreams.
Graham Cassel’s ultra-short, effortlessly charming, puppet film, BRUAR follows a loquacious doorstop named Bruar, who is fed up with the lack of manners in today’s society!
Complementing these, we’ve picked some of our favourite Australian films to screen alongside & hopefully one or two of the Melbourne-based film-makers will make it along to Bendigo! Samantha Dinning’s SINKHOLE is- despite its dark subject matter – a funny, quirky, indie, comedy/drama featuring a great central performance and a thoughtful visual template & colour-pallette.
Screen Australia-funded drama & winner of the Sydney Film Festival Short Screenplay Award, BLUEY by Darlene Johnson, is a searing drama that gets inside the head of Bluey, an angry young woman trapped in a life of violence, who meets a mentor who could change everything.
Characterised by some excellent ensemble acting and never less than gripping, BLUEY literally delivers a punch in its execution.
Finally, Max Walter’s ironic, wry & funny 1980s-set comedy, UNDER THE TABLE follows Stuart, a 30-year old wannabe table-tennis champion who still lives at home and finds himself trapped between his chain smoking, ex-beauty queen mother & his abusive ex-footballer father.
We’ll find out how our travelling films fared when they get back from their Oz-bound adventure, with some holiday snaps of the film night as well as their encounter with Chris and Bendigo Mac!
Hopefully, the Australian film fans like this programme as much as last year’s – when they screened us down a Gold mine and piped the audience to the lift shafts with a full pipe band!
Bendigo sure knows how to throw a party so hope everyone has a good time, if you know anyone out there please point them Bendigo way and we’ll ask Bendigo Mac to say hello!
Which gives me an idea.. maybe its about time the ESFF had a mascot of our own so any suggestions welcome!
I’ll start by suggesting ‘Edinburgh Eddie’ but given where I live, Eddie would have to be a huge and angry-looking seagull or a rather menacing giant earwig, so lets see if anyone else can do better!